The 5 Biggest Job Interview Mistakes You Could Possibly Make

By Hannah Hamilton

Congratulations! You’ve gotten an interview for that job you want. The next step is to ace it and get closer to getting hired. To do that, you’ll want to avoid making one — or more — of these five big job interview mistakes.

Criticizing a Previous Employer

Putting down the company you’re trying to leave or one you’ve worked for in the past gives off the impression you’re a negative person who can’t let go of the past. It also may make people wonder what you’d say about their company if they hire you.

Also, “it’s not a good sign if you’re saying really mean things about your old boss,” says Jacob Shriar, a growth manager at Officevibe. “It doesn’t make you look good.”

Missing Opportunities to Prove Yourself

Interviewers will ask questions that give you the chance to demonstrate your qualifications and show you have what it takes to do the job. “Failure to answer questions with ESR (Example, Specifics, Results) responses,” is a failure to make the most of the interview, says Hank Boyer, president and CEO of Boyer Management Group.

“Most questions offer you the opportunity in your answer to provide the interviewer with specific, relevant examples of you accomplishing some type of measurable result that benefited the employer,” says Boyer. “This requires you to have done your homework ahead of time, and to accurately portray what happened, so that when the employer verifies your story with prior employers, it matches what you said.”

Providing the Wrong Recommendations

When you first hit the job market, it’s easy to think you don’t have any connections who could serve as professional recommendations. The answer is not to use your mom, your uncle or some other personal contact as a reference.

“When graduating from high school or college one thinks they don’t know anyone and therefore don’t have references they can use,” says Carolyn R. Owens, founder and president of Infinity Coaching. “They decide to bring to the interview a letter from their parents stating how great of a son or daughter they are; this does not go over well with hiring managers and the candidate is not taken seriously.”

Setting Yourself Up to Fail on Social Media

Social media is part of the process companies use to vet prospective employees these days. Before you walk into an interview, there’s a good chance your prospective employer is looking at your Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Tumblr, Google +, and other social media accounts. If they don’t like what they see, your interview may be doomed.

“Posting on social media sites how you have interviewed countlessly unsuccessfully or a picture of you partying the night before an interview,” says career coach Chantay Bridges. “This is not what a potential employer wants to see” and it’s not doing you any favors.

Bringing Children Along

This may seem obvious, but career coach Jill MacFadyen says she once saw a “man [arrive] for the interview with a toddler. He had on a leather jacket. The toddler had no socks and no jacket, and it was cold.”

The leather jacket and the toddler weren’t the biggest problems, though. “In general, big mistakes are not showcasing how you meet the company needs,” says MacFayden. If you show up late, improperly dressed, without having done research, or even with a child in tow, you’re showing the company exactly why they don’t need you instead of what they could gain by accepting you for the position.

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